To the Editor:
Does Alicia Washington really believe that we are living in a “conservative America,” or at least an America so hopelessly devoted to the Republican Party that Jon Stewart is a reason for hope? Has Washington forgotten Bill Clinton’s landslide defeat of Bob Dole only eight years ago? Has Washington forgotten the closest presidential election in history in 2000? Three days ago, George W. Bush won by a slimmer margin than Bill Clinton in 1996. Surely the American electorate hasn’t changed so dramatically in this short time.
Washington’s column shows exactly why the Democratic Party has been so confounded by the GOP over the past four years. Chalking up Republican triumphs to the inherent conservatism of America is disingenuous. Washington can “continue to fight for our beliefs and for the American we know can do better” as much as she wants. But this rhetorical mish-mash won’t gain any converts.
The fact is that the Democratic Party has offered no substantive alternative to President Bush’s vision for the post-9/11 world. Clinton defeated the GOP with an intellectual onslaught absent from Democratic rhetoric over the past four years. Democrats have been content to be the alternative, to be defined by what they aren’t. This may be a good enough reason for Washington to vote Democrat, but for most voters it isn’t.
Until the Democratic Party resolves this identity crisis and ceases to be the bland alternative to the GOP Washington despises, they can expect to lose more and more ground.
Hank Greenberg ’05
Nov. 4, 2004